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Sri Lanka to get Indian coronavirus vaccines in coming week

Sri Lanka will get coronavirus vaccines from India in coming week: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (IANS)

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced on Saturday that the first batch of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines is expected to arrive in the island nation on Wednesday.
Rajapaksa made the announcement on the same day as Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi tested positive for coronavirus. She is the fifth parliamentarian and second cabinet minister to test positive for the virus in recent weeks, after Minister of Water Supply Vasudeva Nanayakkara tested positive during Parliament sessions.
Sri Lanka will receive 600,000 vials of doses with the first vaccine consignment, reports Xinhua news agency. Till now Sri Lanka has reported over 56,000 Covid-19 cases, with 278 deaths.
Like other nations, Sri Lanka too has finalised the first recipients of the vaccine. Addressing an event on Saturday, the President said the Covid-19 jabs will be first administered to medical officers, Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) and other workers in the health sector most exposed to the coronavirus outbreak.
Tri-forces personnel who work closely with medical staff and people who are more vulnerable to the virus will be given the jabs subsequently, Rajapaksa added.
In preparation for vaccine arrivals, the country has begun trials in order to efficiently administer the vaccines. Deputy Director-General of Health Services (DDGHS) Hemantha Herath said the trial will help health officials to get an idea on how vaccination should be administered and identify possible hurdles in the process. This will also give health officials an estimate of the number of vaccines that could be administered to recipients in a certain time span, he added.
As a global pharmaceutical leader, India has promised to provide vaccines to the world even as it caters to its own need of immunizing a billion people. Within a week of launching its own vaccination drive, India has begun sending the much-sought after vaccines to its neighbours. In the meantime, it has also vaccinated over a million people, mostly frontline health workers.
India has already sent 3.2 million doses to South Asian nations like Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Maldives as a grant. It is waiting for vaccine approvals in countries like Afghanistan, Mauritius, Myanmar and Seychelles. The other recepients of the vaccine are Morocco in Africa and Brazil in South America. 
(With inputs from agencies)